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Sin, Salvation, and Service

What was once called the three Ss, virtu­ally unknown now, constituted, it was rightly held by Protestants, the essence of God’s plan for man.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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Excerpted from "The Van Til I Knew: An Interview With R.J. Rushdoony" (1995)

[Van Til] held, “Man’s highest good is the Kingdom of God.” Now, the church has been made into an end rather than a means.

The church sees itself as the Kingdom of God. This was what de­stroyed the medieval church. It began to see the church as the Kingdom. But Protestants began with the Kingdom as the goal, and the church as the army to create the Kingdom, but now the church sees itself as the end, as the goal. Therefore it works to build up the church, not the Kingdom of God. And that’s why Christian Reconstruction is so offensive to them. It takes the focus away from the church and puts it on the Kingdom...

When the church is church-centered, it sees itself and bringing people into the church as the goal. It develops its version of the scholastic doctrine of the Middle Ages that man as he is, is essentially whole, he only needs something added to nature to give him the good life, and that’s the donum superadditum, the extra gifts that God gives which caps your natural powers and abilities and makes you a Christian, a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Then you have no calling except to wait for heaven, to be a part of the church, which is the Kingdom, and this has become the doctrine of Protestantism...

Its whole message to people is, "God loves you. There’s a little something He can give to you, which will make the plus you need to have a wonderful life, nothing about the fact that you are a reprobate." Now, what was once called the three Ss, virtu­ally unknown now, constituted, it was rightly held by Protestants, the essence of God’s plan for man. You start with sin, you need salvation, and because of salvation you go into service . . . sin, salvation, service. But now it’s sin, salvation, and wait to be raptured, or wait to die and go to heaven.

{The full interview can be read in Faith and Action, volume 1, pp. 559-574}


R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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